Monthly Archives: December 2011

It’s Been So Long Since I’ve Seen The Ocean

I guess I should.

It’s definitely been the longest December ever. Roughest four weeks of my life? Absolutely.

Save me, Alabama… So far, so good.

He Knows If You’re Bein’ A Jag Off N’at

I had the loveliest of Christmases with some of my dearest Pittsburgh friends. Packing to leave for Mobile bright and early tomorrow. This is too surreal to comprehend right now. I’m going to miss the yinzers every day until I move back home permanently.

I love this place. I need to have my adventures while I’m still young, but I’ll return someday for sure. It’s the only place that truly feels like home right now. It’s been a damn good six years. It’s my forever place.

Hmm, Control.

Hiatus: done.

The Penn State thing just about did me in. I refuse to comment on it in depth at this point but I will say that it honestly does feel like I lost my religion. Nothing is as it was and nothing will ever be the same again. Everything I believed in has been absolutely undermined. I went to the Nebraska game. It was like going to a funeral.

Then that devastation was soon followed by my ex-boyfriend doing absolutely one of the worst things that you can do to a person and rebreaking my heart all over again (as soon as I had solid closure) and without remorse. Needless to say, the combo of those two things made me feel absolutely dead inside for a good 5 weeks and I needed a break from everything. I kind of withdrew from 98% of all types of communication but I’m back now to share some holiday cheer!

You can’t help but feel hopeful during Christmas. Get this album. No more sadness. I dare you to hate Christmas music now, bitches. We all have a light inside of us and there are things, like Sufjan Stevens Christmas songs, that unbury it from whatever wreckage it’s under.

I don’t love Christmas for the presents. I love Christmas for the love. And the lights. And the fireplaces. And the family. And the friends. And the food. And the alcohol. If I never got another gift as long as I lived, those would be enough to keep me happy forever.

It’s also a reflective time. With the end of the year quickly approaching and a big move in 4 days, I can’t help but evaluate the last 12 months and assess the lessons I’ve learned as I pack my life away into bins and boxes.

My general thought right now is that I would benefit from something like this.

Hmm. Control, control. You must learn control.
– Yoda

Relevant (from PostSecret, obv):

I think that right there is more or less is the relationship I do have with some people.  I’m a young Padawan. I appreciate all the Yodas in my life who really need me to get my shit together. I’ve been a disaster lately. Thanks, guys. I love you.

Some activities/habits/interests enhance personal growth and make you a better person. Everything I know about hard work and self-discipline, I learned from growing up as a ballerina. Aside from being incredible exercise, the things you learn because of what it requires spill over into all other aspects of your life.

Running is another one of those activities. And it just taught me one of the most important lessons of my life. I think I had the clarity to acknowledge/analyze about 50 significant life mistakes all in one moment. Patience and self-control are now two characteristics I can say that I’ve partially conquered, I think.

Basically, I was running so much and so hard that I was hardcore overdoing it but I refused to stop because it was the only thing that made me feel better about anything. I went running three times in one day which is an absolutely terrible thing to do. Marco, running expert/coach, told me I was going to hurt myself but I refused to listen because I’m a stubborn asshole. Lo and behold, I hurt myself. It started as a slight strain which I kept pushing and not stretching which eventually built up so much that I could hardly walk because it hurt so bad. Only then did I decide to chill the fuck out. And the injury weirdly became maybe one of the best things to ever happen to me.

An important thing to know about my previous running habits was that I never ever stretched. My inherent impatience means that I like instant gratification and zero to sixty situations. My inherent attitude about life makes me feel like I can do anything and don’t have to listen to anybody. Essentially, I feel invincible/unhurtable most of the time. And honestly, I’ve been running for years and not stretching has never been a problem. However, I’ve never been running this much or this hard or for such long distances.

Basic running policy is that you do an easy warm up like walking or slow jogging to get your muscles ready then you stretch for 5-10 minutes. I skipped all of that. I’d walk down the front steps of my porch or get out of my car if I was running a trail or different city loop then take off like itwas nobody’s business because I loved that feeling of just being able to go and how instantly everything felt better. Being impatient means that I hate waiting and also hate the slow/steady work that goes into things.

So the whole no stretching thing probably started the injury then my refusal
to quit or acknowledge pain made it worse and everything came crashing down when it hurt too much to walk and I realized I’d ruined myself. I pushed it too hard on Saturday night of Halloween weekend and woke up pretty sore then decided it was a good idea to go running that Sunday. Worst decision ever. By Monday, I was nearly immobile and realized I wouldn’t be able to run for many
many days. Basically, because of my own stupidity and refusal to quit, I wrecked my ability to do the only thing that was making me happy.

Reasons why this actually ended up being ok:
1) I realized that I can be happy and deal with my anger/hostility issues without running. Plus, they’ve subsided anyway. I think that’s emotional progress. Real people feel sadness. Monsters feel anger.
2) I had one of the biggest paradigm shifts of my life. My attitude about everything was so wrong and destructive. I’m now face to face with this and I feel like I’ve finally cracked the code as to why everything was broken in every way. Perhaps you kind of have to destroy yourself in certain ways before you can get anywhere. Especially when you’ve wrecked everything else first. Sometimes things are just unsalvageable.

When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.
– Stars, Your Ex Lover is Dead

Obviously, there were little glimmers of constructive and positive thoughts/emotions in there. But overall, somewhere along the road, I turned into this dark and broken person and I was too blind to understand where it was coming from or why it was there.

Then sometime in November, I went on a rehab run that changed everything. My attitude had ruined my body and that ruined my habit so then I had to acknowledge the whole thing and start over  which was kind of the most liberating thing I’ve ever felt because now I understand the consequences and appreciate the fact that a little patience and calm go a long way. I don’t really wanna make a “slow and steady wins the race” analogy here because it’s a slightly imperfect analogy but I do kind of feel like the tortoise instead of the hare now. Had I been patient and not crazy, I wouldn’t have missed 10ish days of running. If I had stretched, I wouldn’t have pulled anything. If I had taken it easy when I pulled something, I would have been out for one or two days instead of 10. I would have been able to walk without pain. I wouldn’t have to rebuild so slowly and carefully.

Now that I’ve made the mistakes and started over, I’m a better runner with a healthier attitude about it and life. I took a step back to heal and recover slowly instead of pushing it because I was destroying myself. I think that kind of applies to everything I’ve done in the last year. A lot of self-destruction and impatience and refusal to appropriately deal with things. Some of that has been stress related and the basic fact that sometimes you just need to get shit done. I was on hyperdrive all summer while working full-time and taking 2 semesters of A&P in 12 weeks. You can’t do that unless you force yourself to shut down and enter sheer survival mode. Then I guess there was the breakup stuff right after that and then the breakup aftermath stuff and I never really came down from all of it until the beginning of this month when I had closure (then of course he fucked me up again but it’s cool because I’ll soon be an untouchable 800 miles away). Anyway, I guess I’ve just realized that you can’t just always push through things. We’re not physical, mental, or emotional superheroes.

I’m not unbreakable. That was a really difficult thing for me to acknowledge because in my head, I’m fierce and I can do anything and there are no limits. Physically, mentally, or emotionally. I thought I could run forever and learn anything and not have to feel heartbreak feelings and just move on instead. But I kind of feel happier now that I’m forced to recognize that I’m human just like everyone else. I feel more connected and less dead. We’re all in this together.

And running isn’t some kind of sick vice to me now. That sounds kind of crazy. Like how can exercise be bad for you? It was. Trust me. Now, running is what it used to be to me… my love and my passion and what I do when I’m happy instead of too pissed off to live.

I still have a lot to learn about control and discipline and patience and stability but the mistakes help me become better. All my pseudo-Yodas and life experience have played a significant role in my 2011 growth as a person. We all grow a little or a lot each year.

Just like I had to start slowly and stretch infinitely and relearn everything I knew about running, it was a good and necessary thing and now I’m 110% better off than I was before. Had I not destroyed myself, I wouldn’t have acquired this important and life-altering perspective. Destroying yourself sucks, but it happens and if you can rise out of the ashes, then it becomes one of the most positive things you can experience.

I destroyed a lot of myself in a ton of ways in a million aspects of my life this year. I’m finally beginning to start over and take it slow and get my shit together and be patient with myself and others and look at the long-term things instead of just the immediate ones.

The old Liz was impulsive and cracked under pressure and the reality of life. The new Liz is learning control and to chill out and do things the right way.

Luke conquers that shit becomes one of the greatest Jedi heroes of all time. I’m optimistic that I can achieve equally great things with time and practice.

Also, endorphins are damn addicting.